Saturday, October 20, 2007
on being (and staying) vegan....
I believe I have a better insight to this than, say, someone who has been vegan for years and years. So, i thought i would put my two cents out there and hope it helps new vegans...
I've made a few attempts at veganism in the last ten years. What the hell happened? Let me tell you... I am shy and pretty lazy. These qualities have cause me a lot of problems in my life, one of which was committing to veganism. I would find myself in a situation, dinner at my fiance's parents house, lunch with friends or finding myself in a restaurant with few veggie selections and PANIC. I don't like causing a scene or to draw extra attention to myself. So, I would order a seafood dish or a vegetarian dish. After this, it seemed futile to attempt veganism again, since i've already eaten meat or dairy.
At this point in my life, I hadn't read much about veganism, and the things that I had read were from organizations like PETA and Vegan Outreach. The message that I got from these organizations was that it was okay to be 99% vegan. This was really confusing to me. It seemed reasonable enough, but it just didn't make much sense. Another thing that was strange to me were PETA's campaigns against veal, foie gras and fur. Sure, those things are awful, but I didn't understand why they would pick those items over dairy, meat and leather. I'm not blaming these organizations for my lack of commitment; I'm saying their messages are inconsistent and confusing, and if you're lazy, you don't look too hard for more information.
About a year or so ago, I picked up 'Vegan Freak' by Jenna and Bob Torres and my perception of veganism changed drastically. They made it seem easy to be vegan. This book led to reading more about veganism, and ultimately, a real understanding of what it means to be vegan. Every day I am taking a stand against animal abuse. Every day I am a constant reminder to people that they do not need to eat nor wear animals to exist happily in the world.
It's not hard to be vegan. I don't feel deprived. I've tried so many different types of food now. I can cook now! It doesn't kill me to suggest a vegan-friendly restaurant or to send food back to the kitchen. I can take as many shitty vegan jokes you can think of. It all comes down to me living a life I can be proud of.